Curiously, vulnerability is often thought of as an extraordinary state. It can even have a negative connotation. But I believe it’s simply a part of the human condition – natural as can be.
What is Vulnerability?
Given my opening, it’s obvious I’m thinking vulnerability is grossly misunderstood. So let’s see how well I can defend my position. And, together, maybe we can view vulnerability in a new and very positive light. Oh, and we’ll grab some management tips while we’re at it.
Let’s begin with merriam-webster.com’s definition of vulnerable…
“Capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. Open to attack or damage : assailable <vulnerable to criticism>.”
Now, that’s a great literal perspective (by the way, no wonder vulnerability often carries a negative connotation). But if we really want to bring the meaning of vulnerability to life itself, let’s spend some time absorbing the image above. Go ahead, take a few moments.
Now, tell me that infant isn’t vulnerable – and it isn’t natural.
Incidentally, when I was absorbing the image I took the time to jot-down some one-word feelings and thoughts. To name a few – natural, safe, secure, trust, and openness.
Why not give the exercise a go and see what you come up with?
Yes, It’s Natural!
So how in the world did I stumble upon the notion that vulnerability is natural? Well, let’s take another peak at the definition…
“Capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. Open to attack or damage…”
Are you kidding me? Don’t know about you, but it sure appears to me that each and every one of us has been vulnerable since the womb! And that’s emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically.
As with anything that gums-up our lives, the issue here is one of perception and interpretation. See, it’s not a matter of whether or not we’re vulnerable. We are! No, it’s about degrees of vulnerability. And no matter where we measure on the scale, the joy is in finding opportunities for growth. Forget this negative or weakness business.
10 Keys to Managing Vulnerability
There’s great freedom in accepting our vulnerability. And now that we’re free from the “Am I or am I not?” garbage, we can focus upon managing reality. Here are just 10 ideas I’d like to share…
- Come to understand and embrace the fact that vulnerability is a part of being human – intended and natural
- Referencing the image of our infant, keep a practiced visualization of the beauty of vulnerability fresh in our minds
- Examine and work on our trust issues – here’s a link to a neat piece I wrote entitled, “Opening-Up & Trust: It’s Time!”
- Establish a firm personal foundation, focusing upon life direction
- Assess and work on building self-confidence, self esteem, and assertiveness
- Be open to reframing our traditional thinking, perception, and interpretation regarding vulnerability
- Transition from “wounded, attack, and damage” to calmly embracing opportunities for growth
- Work on self-actualization and acceptance
- Foster strong internal resources of strength – and reserves
- Develop a trusted social network, learning to share feelings and thoughts along the way
So what do you think? Did I present and defend my case well?
I can’t think of one human being who isn’t vulnerable. And if vulnerability is in any manner a negative, or sign of weakness, there are billions of screwed-up people out there.
I’m holding to the truth that vulnerability is a natural and necessary state. And when we come to understand it’s simply a part of the human condition, the doors to fulfillment will open wide.
If we’re to learn and grow, your comments are crucial. Why not take the time to help all of us – and yourself?
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